Archives for August 2015

Story Time with Sara: Little Green Dragon by Erin Kurt and Laara Exsnar


The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric: Little Green Dragon (#3)Little Green Dragon
written by Erin Kurt and Laara Exsnar
published by Create Space, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: OK, so if you read my review of the first book in this series, The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric: Amazing Apples, you realize that I really didn’t think very highly of the book. I did however, say that I would give the series another chance . . . and I did.

The children, Celia and Cedric, are MUCH more relatable in Little Green Dragon than they are in Amazing Apples. One of my biggest problems with the first book is the unrealistic dialog for the children. The children’s dialogue and activities are much more age appropriate in this book. The file I received to review wouldn’t open in the Kindle App for Ipad, but once I transferred it to an actual Kindle device I was able to see the illustrations (albeit in black and white) and the recipe at the end of the story. Both elements truly complement the story. We actually make green smoothies in my house, but we may be calling them dragon juice from now on . . . IT’S just more fun! 🙂
I enjoy that the children are pretending the little dragon is chasing them, and my son enjoyed that part too. My criticism comes only from the fact that at the end of the story the kids pretend they are drinking the green dragon in their smoothie drinks. My son asked me why the children would want to drink the dragon. I replied that he was chasing them so they wanted to make him go away. My child said, “But Mom, he was only playing, it was not nice of them to eat him . . .” My husband is vegetarian, so our family discusses how some people eat animals and some don’t, so perhaps that’s why my son brought this up . . .  but I can’t help but think he has a point. Instead of having the children drink the dragon, we imagined that the green drink was a magical potion that would turn them into little green monsters so they could play chase with the dragon.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this fun little story with a recipe, especially if you are looking for a fun way to introduce more leafy greens into your preschooler’s diet.


About the book – from Goodreads: Celia and Cedric meet a new friend! In this new adventure, they meet the Little Green Dragon, who becomes a fun playmate and an inspiration for a yummy new recipe. Celia and Cedric enjoy the Little Green Dragon’s smoothie and you can, too! This is the third book of “The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric” series. Other books in the series are: “The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric: Amazing Apples!” “The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric: Eat Dirt Balls!”


Chrissy’s Review: Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman

Kissing the Maid of HonorKissing the Maid of Honor (Secret Wishes #1)
written by Robin Bielman
published by Entangled: Bliss, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Once I got into the story, I did enjoy it. It took almost half the book, though, to get hooked. I’m not sure why that happened.

Kissing the Maid of Honor is sweet, romantic, and has some great moments. There were quite a few where I laughed out loud and a few that made me giddy. I just wish Sela hadn’t held onto the hurt and grudge since high school. I understand that what happened in high school was hurtful and embarassing. However, at some point, you have to let it go. This wasn’t *that* big of a deal, in my opinion.

I will read the next book in the Secret Wishes series, Her Accidental Boyfriend.


Would I recommend it: Probably.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Kissing her best friend’s brother never felt so right…

Sela Sullivan is resolved to be the best maid of honor ever, even if it means tolerating the best man. Insufferable, too-handsome Luke Watters is not only the guy who humiliated her at a kissing booth in high school, but he also happens to be her best friend’s older brother. Positive he’s the same arrogant jock, Sela vows to focus on her duties and steer clear of the frustrating—and frustratingly tempting—Luke.

As a world-renowned extreme-sports photographer, Luke is used to undertaking life-risking adventures. But risking his heart for the beautiful Sela Sullivan, who clearly still hates him for his rejection all those years ago? He didn’t see that coming. Sela inspires a passion he’s never known, and the more time they spend together, the more he craves her. But can he prove to the maid of honor he’s become a man of honor?




Melissa’s Review: From a Killer’s Mind by Jason Helford

From a Killer's Mind

From a Killer’s Mind
written by Jason Helford
published by Jason Helford, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonSmashwordsGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I . . . I’ve never read anything quite like this book, and I’m honestly not sure if I enjoyed it. I had to stop reading several times (mostly right before bed) because I was afraid I’d have nightmares. You know how you sneak a peak at car accidents as you drive past, feeling guilty all the while? This book is like that. It’s awful and disgusting and gory and I couldn’t not finish it.

Helford’s got a bit of work to do with his prose, but if From a Killer’s Mind is anything like others in its genre, I’d be surprised if he can’t find a publisher after a few more rounds of editing. For starters, let’s get rid of about half the occurrences of “deep seated” whatevers and figure out a different way to say that. I’d also recommend ditching that pesky passive voice (you all know how I HATE passivity) and then just doing some general tidying up (for example: my mind is still reeling from John’s trip to the grocery store, not because of what he did, but because I’m pretty sure he never bothered to take all that frozen food out of his back seat).

As for the story, well, I’m left feeling both overwhelmingly sad and overwhelmingly disgusted. I’m pretty sure that’s what Helford was going for.


“John darkly wondered if he was yelling into an empty kitchen, screaming at nothing but himself, but he pushed that thought back down and continued.”

Would I recommend it: I’d definitely give this book a NSFW/NSFL warning, but if bloody, icky gore tossed with a giant dose of insanity is your thing you’ll love From a Killer’s Mind. 


About the book – from Goodreads: 
“Fans of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs and Shane Stevens’ By Reason of Insanity may find a new favorite author here.”
-Kirkus Reviews

John has been a successful serial killer for his entire adult life, committed to his craft without detection or disruption. He’s spent years perfecting his process and meticulously planning out each kill, honing his abilities to horrible heights; however, when one kill doesn’t go as planned, his confidence is shattered, and his dark life starts down an even darker road, to either his salvation…or his ultimate downfall. John finds his private sanctum infiltrated by chaotic characters from the most unlikely of places, putting him through an existential crisis of the soul. As John loses control, his true crucible begins.

From a Killer’s Mind, the debut novel of writer Jason Helford, is a mind-bending, scary, and emotionally honest trip through the life of a serial killer, laying bare the killer’s soul for all readers to see. The remarkable twist at the core of this novel is something that will leave you open-mouthed, shocked, and completely hooked, until the very last page.



Chrissy’s Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsPaper Towns
written by John Green
published by Speak, 2008

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
It was okay, and I wanted to see how it ended. But, for me, it just didn’t meet my expectations.

My first experience with John Green was The Fault In Our Stars, and I was blown away by it. (You can read my 5-star review here.) After I finished that book, I started looking for another Green book to read. I set my sights on Paper Towns. Then I heard it was going to be a movie. It had some great reviews, too. However, it didn’t live up to the hype and promise for me.

Let’s break it down. Margo is a selfish brat. Quentin is a lost puppy searching for something. Ben and Radar are the ever-faithful sidekicks. The story took a while to get into, and I found myself bored. The road trip was my favorite part. It was funny, and you could see these four friends doing this trip. The rest of the book . . . it was a bit unforgettable.


Would I recommend it: Meh. Even though I wanted to finish it, I wouldn’t recommend this one.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…




Blog Tour: The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino (spotlight, giveaway)

The Legacy of Us banner

The Legacy of UsThe Legacy of Us
written by Kristin Contino
published by SparkPress, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: Liz Moretti thought she knew almost everything about her grandmother, Ella, from her love of “The Golden Girls” to the perfect pound cake recipe. But when Ella passes away and Liz finds a cameo locket with a marriage proposal engraved inside (from a man who was not her grandfather), she realizes that sometimes a person’s secrets are discovered only after they’re gone.

On top of losing Ella, Liz’s career as a jewelry designer is stagnant and her love life lacks sparkle, too. When she reconnects with the one who got away, Liz thinks maybe things are finally starting to look up. But after a few drinks and a trip down a flight of stairs, Liz wakes up to realize the cameo is gone. Her ex offers to look for it, but so does Justin, the intriguing new guy in her apartment building.

While dealing with her feelings for two very different men and generally trying to reinvent her mess of a life, Liz finds answers and solace in Ella’s diary. The story of the cameo, and the relationship between her grandmother and great-grandmother, an outspoken socialite from Italy, inspires Liz to grow up and accept responsibility for her missteps. Eventually she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the promise of something better.


About the author: Kristin Contino grew up in a world of writing and reading, which evolved into a career as a freelance writer, editor, and women’s fiction reviewer. Kristin enjoys spending time with her family and loves travel, photography and dreams of moving to her favorite city, London. The Legacy of Us is her debut novel.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap


This is my third Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap, and I am so excited to take part again this year!!!

(Check out my last two reveals here and here.)


The Swap Objective


Send your partner THREE books:


A book you love
A book you haven’t read but are interested in
A book from your partner’s wish list

(And you can also throw in extra goodies, too!)


Go over to Chaotic Goddess Swaps and check it out.
Sign-ups end August 24!



Boost It Tuesday! – August 18, 2015


Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!


What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.


Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster


As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!


For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!


Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 if these books could talk


Back to School – Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway

Back to Books

I am so excited to participate in this awesome giveaway!!! Good luck!!

Back to School – Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway
August 17th to September 7th

Prize: Winner’s choice of $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Gift Code

Sponsor List
I Am A Reader
Author Martha Reynolds
The Discerning Reader
Raven Haired Girl
DS Venetta ~ Author middle grade fiction
Heather @ Townsend House
Talia Jager, YA Author
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
TMBA Corbett
The Page Unbound
Author MK McClintock
Carolyn Cooper
Kindle and Me
Book Nerd Addict
Live Life Blog
Simple Wyrdings
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Here We Go Again…Ready?
Ann Swann – Suspense and more
Author Inger Iversen
Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions
Bella Street’s Time Travel Romance
Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance
Taylor Dean Books
Every Free Chance Books
LeahSay’s Views
My Book Self
A Tattered Copy
Glistering Bs Blog
Lori’s Reading Corner
Free Bookster
Kelly’s Lucky You
Chicas Love to Read
Hall Ways
Bound 4 Escape
Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Wendi Sotis
Laurisa Reyes – Author



Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Gift Code)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends September 7, 2015 — Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via PayPal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Gina’s Review: Balm by Dolen Perkinds-Valdez


written by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
published by Amistad Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This was definitely not one of my favorite books. I don’t know if the author was trying to make the characters unlikeable, but I didn’t like any of them. I thought the story started promising but in the end was too depressing and fell flat. I was bored and ended up just skimming to try and finish it. I had high hopes for this book, but it didn’t leave me feeling much of anything.



Would I recommend it: Not particularly.


About the book – from Goodreads: The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life.

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others’ suffering, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.





The EFC Writer – Simple Sentences


Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  



It’s like this: you’re using simple sentences too often. Yeah, they’re easy to write, and yeah, they’re easy to understand, but you’re not in the fourth grade any more. It’s time to level up. The first step is making sure you know what simple sentence actually are. Here’s one:


Here’s another one: Dumbledore dies.

I can keep adding words (“Dumbledore dies a surprising and heartbreaking death in the Harry Potter series.”), but the structure stays the same: simple. You probably use simple sentences when you’re talking, so this structure can be okay for character dialogue as long as you’re not using it too often. Too much simple structure makes your prose read like a primary school report, and we both know you’re better than that.

Take a quick peek at your latest draft. Are you using simple sentences all the time? More than half of the time? More than you think I want you to? Hmm? Hmmmmmm?

Next time I’ll show you some quick ways to grown-up-ify (YES. It’s a word. TRUST ME, I’m your editor!) your sentences. *grin*



Simple sentences are great for clarifying tough topics and adding variety to your prose, but use them too often and you run the risk of sounding like a tween. You WANT to write about complex ideas and relationships, and simple sentences just can’t hack that sort of depth. Stay tuned for next time, when I’ll introduce you to compound and complex sentences—two great ways to change things up and mature your writing.


Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: with EFC Writer in the subject line.